Fireworks are really fun to photograph, if you know what you are doing. Personally, I love taking photos of fireworks on the water because you get the added benefit of the water reflection which seems to make them extra special. Sister villages Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow joined forces once again to create a wonderful display on the Hudson River right next door to Lighthouse Landing.
I managed to get there about 2 hours ahead of the main event. I decided to work from the vantage point of the River Walk on the Tarrytown just south of Sleepy Hollow. I was early enough to get a nice spot and I shared a bench with a very nice family who had two adorable little girls who were having the time of their lives enjoying the River Walk. Another benefit to being on the water is that although it was a sweltering day, the breeze off the Hudson made it far more comfortable than I had anticipated.
For those who want to try their hand at fireworks and are forever frustrated with the attempt, here are a few tips:
First, you can’t go into it worrying about what you missed. You are taking still photos on something that is dynamic and moving. You will miss shots. You just have to keep shooting and if you’ve done your job well, when you get home you will pleasantly surprised and what you got. Your angst over what you missed will have been wasted energy.
Second, you need to use a tripod. I’m going to say this again so it sinks in…you need to use a tripod! There is no substitute for this because you need a slow shutter speed in order to capture the “burst” not to mention that you are shooting at night! That means slow shutter speeds, and slow shutter speed means camera shake. Camera shake ruins most shots in low light.
Third, don’t use flash, use a slow shutter speed. I set my aperture at a high f stop which I opened gradually as it got darker out. I started at about f11 and moved down to f7 over the course of the display. I worked with several shutter speeds until I got to what worked best for my circumstance. In my situation the ideal speed varied between 5-8 seconds throughout the display. My ISO was set at 800 throughout. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but this is what worked for me.
Hope this helps – Enjoy the video!
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